Wednesday, April 22, 2015

How Westernization has Corrupted our Culture!

Many Indians think that the one thing that's missing in most of us is the pride for our past. Centuries of slavery have made us forget our traditions. The cultures imported to India by our once western ‘masters’ have corrupted our own. We have been brainwashed to think that westernization is same as modernizatin.

If you agree, you are probably right in some ways. Our faith, our dresses, our customs, our morals and our lifestyles have definitely been influenced by the west. Some of us do take pride in thinking that western culture is the only right culture. Unless we get over our colonial hangover and start respecting our past we can never achieve our true potential. So, below are the four western (by which in mean influences from west of Indus) influences that we need to throw away right now.

1.     Gay


The biggest victim of westernization has been the transgender and the transsexual community. Indian mythology is full of transsexual and transgender people. Hijras, or the third gender, have been integral part of our culture. Our ancestors have easily accepted gender diversity. Infact, erotic sculptures in temples openly depict homosexual relationships. 

Such open culture was a shock for the Britishers who banned homosexual relations in 1861 under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Hizras were labeled as a ‘criminal tribe’ in 1871 and stigmatized. Slowly the orthodox British culture became part of our own as we forgot the traditions of our once liberal past. While Section 377 was struck down in 2009 by Delhi High Court, it was re-criminalized by Supreme Court in December 2013. 

The sad irony is that Britishers have moved on and made gay sex legal, we however hold on to their legacy. Equality of status and opportunity is a fundamental right mentioned in our constitution and there will be no development without it.

2.     Sex


Ancient Indians were amongst the few people in the world who realized that sex was an important part of life. As per our ancient texts there are four goals of life: Kama (Sex), Artha (Wealth), Dharma (Duty/Faith as opposed to religion) and Moksha (Emancipation/Liberation). Not surprisingly, Kamasutra (400BC-200AD), the oldest treatise on sex, was written in India.  

Temples like Khajuraho have sculptures showing all four goals of life, Kama being an important part of it. Sex was not separated from sacred temples because sex itself was sacred. Why else should we worship Shiva-linga? Seeing any form of pleasure as sin is a very western concept, a form of Victorian conservatism implanted on Indian minds. It is time we get rid of it.

3.     Women


While most of India, barring North East, was a patriarchal society, women were not kept hidden within the four walls of the house. Going by the dresses women wore, as depicted in the ancient paintings, one can only wonder how covering a women from head to toe became synonymous to Indian tradition.  

Purdah was introduced to India only after the invasion of Afghans.  The dress preferred by the rulers became the dress of choice. The Indian mindset born out of invasions, insecurity and illiteracy needs to change. We need to stop judging women by the dress they wear. Being liberal is being India.

4.     Hindu



What is the difference between Indian and Hindu? While the former is Greek the latter is Persian, both used to denote the same thing. Since ancient times our country was defined by oceans in the south, mountains in the North and the mighty Sindhu River in the West. To enter India it is this river that one had to cross first, and thus Sindhu River became our identity. Since the Persians pronounced ‘s’ as ‘h’ ‘Sindhu’ became ‘Hindu’, and Greeks pronounces ‘s’ as ‘i’ we became Indians. 

Taking literally, calling every Indian a Hindu is not a far stretch as we never had a religion, but a way of life. In-fact, Sanskrit had no word for religion. The closest word is ‘dharma’, which actually means duty or nature. Hinduism was made into a religion by Britishers who coined the term in the beginning of 19th century.   

India was a land of different faiths- from atheists, to spiritualists, to idol worshipers. There were debates amongst the different philosophies, but the existence of none was threatened. India was and is the land of seculars. The day we lose our secularism will be the day we lose our identity. 



Let’s hold on to our identity. Being true Indian is a difficult choice. And it is not about blaming Westerners. Our mistakes were our choice. Let's rectify the mistakes. It is all about having an open mind.... It is not about complaining but evolving.....Are we ready for it?




You React:

13 comments:

  1. I guess, not many are ready to embrace the true meaning of being India. Our biggest problem is - we let others corrupt us, and we accept everything without questioning its relevance and logic.

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    Replies
    1. True Saru... that's where one needs to develop an open mind that can challenge our prejudices...

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  2. I see a lot of people accepting our traditions and at the same time adapting themselves to bits and pieces of westernization. But some people blindly go by what others are doing, just so that they remain cool or whatever.

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    Replies
    1. Yes...most of us behave like rats....just follow the trend...

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  3. It is sad that our culture and traditions are being taken up by foreginers and in trueness .. WE ourself are losing all that ..
    we have forgotten that being a indian is more important then a hindu or muslim or a sikh .. but will we learn that ever .. I DOUBT..


    Bikram's

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    Replies
    1. I believe there will be a day when we will learn......But then I am an optimist :)

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  4. I am with you on all these...I so hate purdah system, women have the right to do what they feel like.

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